It all started with listening to
stations and mimicking DJs since childhood. “Disco Duck” wasn’t just
a song to me then…it was a lifestyle. Then the REAL training began
at the University of Florida – GO GATORS – where I first wet my
chops on the air.
I worked as a board op overnight (and
10-second weather) guy for AM 850 WRUF. Oh, those commercials for
Larry King Ester C really helped me stay awake.
While there I volunteered at 91.7 FM
WJLF in the summer of ’93. After a month they hired me fulltime on
evenings. Over the next 8 ½ years I worked everything from
underwriting to production. I also worked my way up the air time
ranks to mornings with Andy Haynes. Finally he encouraged me to
spread my wings a bit. I did and landed…
In January, 2001, Kevin Avery – (my
radio “Mr. Miyagi” mentor) – hired me as copywriter and weekend jock
at 104.7 the Fish in Atlanta. Within a year, I was promoted to
on-air weekday evenings and music director. Lots of hard work and
various pieces of blackmail on different bosses help me remain a
Tell us about your market and how it is unique?
Atlanta’s a fantastic town with a diverse group of
people – I believe we’re over the 4 million mark now, and still
growing! With that comes over 23 major stations that we battle
What is the most
fulfilling aspect to you personally about Christian radio?
Knowing the music we play can be a tool to get people
thinking about God; can encourage and help people get through their
troubles; and can simply be entertainment. It’s also fulfilling
knowing that DJs (like me!) can be involved in that process in not
only a handful of people, but THOUSANDS!
How do you personally keep the ministry in the
I’m not too involved in the day to day sales side of
things. I LOVE being on-air and probably would not stay in radio if
I had simply a desk job. But since I do work with adding music and
scheduling, it can sometimes seem like it’s just a job. There was a
book by Brother Lawrence called “Practicing the Presence of God”. I
read it while in college and it boiled down to glorifying God while
doing even the most mundane things. I think if you have that
perspective, the ministry will automatically flow out of the daily
What is the criteria that determines if a song
receives airplay on your station?
Our play list is completely listener driven through
What kind of promotions work best for your station?
According to the best promotions director in the
country, our own Taylor Scott,
"...a successful promotion should satisfy both client
demands and serve programming’s objective. The trick is to make it
all work while keeping the station clutter-free." Having that type
of tight-rope to walk may explain why Taylor has a nervous twitch in
her eye when ever you say the words 'Added value'.
How do you think Christian Record labels can better
serve Christian radio?
I think most of the record labels are doing a great
job servicing Christian radio – everything from adding new singles
to PromoOnly to providing product for giveaways. The record reps are
doing a better and better job of communicating with us, and I hope
that we are as well.
In your opinion
what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian radio today?
The minority and ourselves.
Basing what you do with your station on the opinions
on the vocal minority is a problem. Radio is a mass medium. You
can’t please everyone. Boil your mission down to what’s important
and focus on that. For us, it’s playing the music that people want
to hear (based on hard data) and being safe for the whole family.
That’s it. We play the music our listeners want to hear and we do it
in a safe environment. We’re not a theological institution or church
denomination and we don’t tackle the debatable issues. We’re simply
there for others to use as a tool, an encouragement, or just for
Christian radio is making gains across the country.
If there’s an obstacle, it won’t be because someone takes us down.
It’ll be because we blow it up from the inside out.
What do you believe is the primary role of the
Christian radio air personality today?
Being a great communicator to his/her audience by
being real, relatable, empathetic, compassionate, funny, caring and
(if any) other Christian radio stations do you consider as
I admire our sister station over in Dallas, KLTY –
they’ve been a force to be reckoned with for years. Chuck Finney and
crew do a fantastic job there…and now top 5 in target demo for
Arbitron ratings to prove it! They’re at the top of my list as
communicating and relating effectively to their audience.
Where do you see Christian radio in 5 years?
Hopefully in the top 10 of their markets! On a
station by station basis, if each are able to make music research a
priority; able to cut through the ‘Christianese’ and speak like
normal people to their listeners…and relate…and be real, then
they’ll win over the audience without a problem. It takes time and
consistency. People will notice…and listen more!